U brands its foreign ops

Both divisions are based in London

Universal’s new foreign theatrical distribution arm will be named Universal Pictures Intl. and the foreign homevid arm, previously called UPI, will be retitled UPI Entertainment.

The double name change takes effect Nov. 1. Both divisions are based in London, with UPI headed by president David Kosse.

UPI Entertainment is looking for a new head following the promotion of prexy Peter Smith to president of NBC Universal Intl., also based in London.

As of Jan. 1, UPI is launching its own direct distribution operations in the U.K., German-speaking territories, Benelux, Spain, Italy, Russia and South Korea.

It will release its movies via Par’s local operations in Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, although it plans to start its own operation in Australasia by mid-year.

United Intl. Pictures, U’s old theatrical joint venture with Paramount, will continue to handle U and Par product in 20 territories.

“As we anticipate our revised distribution agreements with UIP and Paramount, we are looking forward to establishing a clear identity for Universal’s presence in these key markets,” said Kosse. “We are moving in that direction by identifying these two companies clearly with the Universal Pictures Intl. name.”

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